Letterpress – Word Game Review

Word game fans, listen up. If you enjoy friendly competition and want to put your vocabulary to the test, go ahead and download Letterpress now. It’s an exceptional free-to-play word puzzler that fits right in with titles like Scrabble, Boggle, and SpellTower.

In Letterpress, you and an opponent battle on a five-by-five grid of letters, taking turns to spell one word at a time. You can use any letter on the grid in any order, and all letters you use are shaded in with your color. Then your opponent takes a turn, spelling a word of his or her own. Your opponent can use any letters on the board– including ones you’ve already claimed. If that happens, those letters now count toward your opponent’s point total.

I ____ U.

The only way to protect a letter of yours is to claim the letters surrounding it in the cardinal directions. When this happens, that tile is tinted darker, and even if your opponent uses that tile to spell a word, the dark tile remains yours.

The game ends when all tiles on the board are shaded in, or when neither player can come up with a word that hasn’t been played already. When the game ends, the player with the most claimed tiles wins. It’s a simple game that’s just complex enough to leave room for strategy.

Aside from the gameplay, Letterpress is a gorgeous example of minimalist design. There’s nothing onscreen that doesn’t need to be there, and your interaction with the letter tiles is extremely intuitive: touch and drag, or simply tap to play or rearrange letters in a word.

Cats always have birds on the brain.

The game is free to download, but that only gets you a limited version of the game. In the free version, you can only have two matches going on at a time. If you spend a buck to unlock the full game you can play lots of games simultaneously, as well as re-skin the game with a variety of “themes” or color pallets.

We’re a little disappointed that there’s no single-player mode, and that you can only play when you’re connected to the Internet. But if you’re a fan of word games, there’s no reason not to download Letterpress. It’s a beautiful, simple, elegant game, with enough strategy to keep it interesting for a long time.

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